AUBURN — Former Cayuga County Sheriff Peter Pinckney will spend three months in a county jail, another three months in home confinement and five years on probation.
That sentence was delivered by Judge Stephen Sirkin today. Pinckney was sent to jail after admitting he stole $4,000 from the county's drug task force.
Pinckney had pleaded guilty to third-degree grand larceny, first-degree offering a false instrument for filing, and defrauding the government.
Assistant Attorney General James Mindell argued that Pinckney should repay the $4,000. James McGraw of Syracuse, Pinckney's attorney, said Pinckney has had that $4,000 and is waiting to return it to the county. The money is due to the county by Aug. 28.
Pinckney has "given us in law enforcement a black eye," Mindell said in asking Sirkin to sentence Pinckney to jail time. The felonies carried a maximum sentence of seven years in prison.
Before being sentenced, Pinckney told Sirkin he was only borrowing the money — a statement Sirkin pounced on. .
"You pleaded guilty to larceny," Sirkin said. "You stand before this court convicted of three felonies." That's "a violation of your public trust," he said.
Pinckney pleaded guilty to the charges twice. He withdrew his first plea April 9 when Judge Thomas VanStrydonck said he would sentence Pinckney to two months in the county jail. Pinckney had said he'd rather fight the charges in front of a jury than serve time in jail.
But Pinckney changed his mind when newspapers, including The Citizen, printed transcripts of conversations he had with other law enforcers. In them, he bragged about using task-force money to pay for a family trip to Texas. A week later, on July 15, Pinckney pleaded guilty again and said he would accept any sentence Sirkin gave him.
To reach Staff Writer George Spohr, call 253-5311, Ext. 282.